X as a Service and software defined X were two of technology’s hottest topics in 2014, propelling the industry closer to its goal of IT as a service. This is where compute, storage and network resources can be provisioned quickly and easily, and scaling up is a simple and fast endeavour.

Software defined networking (SDN) fits neatly into this category and is quite rightly receiving a lot of coverage at the moment. But there is one exception to this: layer 4-7 services. SDN is great for layer 2-3 but it does leave behind the critical layer 4-7 services, which is what supports software defined application services (SDAS). That’s why we introduced F5 Synthesis, to address that gap.

https://f5.com/about-us/news/press-releases/f5-introduces-synthesis-architecture-for-software

Synthesis is an architectural vision rather than a single technology or service, and it improves the delivery of SDAS across the data centre as well as cloud and hybrid environments. This is crucial because as the data centre becomes more software-oriented, it is vital that other components - such as application services - follow suit.

Today IT departments are under incredible pressure to deliver new applications and services faster and for less money, and SDAS enables that. An open framework enables collaboration across compute, network and application services and results in much faster time to market. With SDAS, application services can be deployed, managed and orchestrated centrally, across data centre and the cloud, drastically reducing cost and complexity.

Those businesses that are looking to move to the cloud can benefit from SDAS as well. Fears about performance and security can be allayed with Synthesis/SDAS as application services can be deployed in the cloud but managed centrally, as if they were in the data centre. This means any policies covering compliance and regulation can be enforced across physical and virtual environments.

SDAS is incredibly flexible, thanks in part to Synthesis’ programmability across the control and data plane, and the configuration layer. What this means is that customers can create, deploy, modify and extend services quickly and easily. Dynamically adjusting the application services environment means businesses will be able to keep up with demand as well as any future architectural changes that may be needed.

Now is the time for SDAS. Software defined data centres, networking and storage show that IT is becoming more software-focused and application services have to be a part of that as well; it’s the next logical step in application delivery. The breadth of applications available today, and the different environments in which they are hosted and delivered, means a new approach is needed.

And that approach is software defined application services. Operating across physical and virtual environments, SDAS is the best way to ensure reliability, security and performance of those mission-critical applications in the modern enterprise.